George Floyd: Families of police brutality victims react to Chauvin verdict

Breonna Taylor's mother (left) and Keli Burns, daughter of Christopher Burns (right) Credit: AP/ITV

Americans reacted with jubilation as the guilty verdicts of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for the murder and manslaughter of George Floyd were read out.

Many of those who welcomed the verdict have also pointed out that while Tuesday's result was monumental, police brutality, especially towards black Americans, must be challenged.

Among them were families who insist they have not received justice following the deaths of their loved ones at the hands of law enforcement.

Here's how they reacted to Chauvin's guilty verdict.

Breonna Taylor

In March 2020, 26-year-old Breonna Taylor was shot dead by police serving a drugs warrant as she slept at her home. Her mother was grateful for Tuesday's verdict, but said the fight for wider justice "isn't over".

After Ms Taylor’s front door was breached by officers in Louisville, her boyfriend fired his gun once, saying later that he feared an intruder was entering the apartment. One officer was struck, and he and two others fired 32 shots into the apartment, striking Taylor five times.

"Thank you, God," Tamika Palmer, Ms Taylor's mother, wrote on Facebook following Tuesday's verdict.

In September, one of the officers involved in Ms Taylor's death was charged with wanton endangerment for firing shots that went into another home with people inside. Jurors didn’t indict any of the officers on charges directly related to Ms Taylor’s death.

Her mother has vowed to continue fighting for families of police brutality.

"This isn't over," she wrote, following Chauvin's guilty verdict.

Christopher Burns

George Floyd's death was strikingly similar to that of Christopher Burns, who died in 2002 after a Minneapolis police officer put pressure on his neck. The officers had been called to his house on a domestic disturbance call.

For his daughter, Keli Burns, the Chauvin trial has felt personal.

"Stuff that I thought I had pushed away for years and years and years came rushing back, because I could just see the pain in that man's face in that video," she told ITV News.

  • Keli Burns (right) says George Floyd's death reminds her of her dad's

"I wasn't there for my dad's last days, but I wonder, was he thinking the same thing?"

After Mr Burns' death, a medical examiner noted he had a history of high blood pressure and coronary artery disease. The officers who restrained Burns were cleared of wrongdoing.Oscar GrantOscar Grant, 22, was fatally shot in the back by a transport police officer while on the floor of a train station in 2009. The incident, which took place in Oakland, was dramatised by Ryan Coogler's 2014 film Fruitvale Station.

Following Chauvin's guilty verdict, the Oscar Grant Foundation, ran by Mr Grant's mother Wanda Johnson, urged others to "continue the fight".

The officer who shot Mr Grant was charged with murder, but a Los Angeles County jury found him guilty only of involuntary manslaughter. He served 11 months.

"We are grateful that today's guilty verdict gives a measure of justice to the family of #GeorgeFloyd," the organisation tweeted.

"While his memory remains warm in our hearts, let us continue to fight knowing that the denial of #humanrights undermines the very integrity of our democratic institutions."

Tamir Rice

The mother of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, who was shot and killed by Cleveland police in 2014, responded to the Chauvin's verdict with a simple "amen".

Her son was playing with a toy gun outside a recreation when he was shot. The police had been dispatched to the area following a report that a “guy” was pointing a gun at people.

In 2015, a grand jury declined to bring criminal charges against the officers. Last year, federal prosecutors said they would not bring charges against the two police officers involved, claiming video of the shooting was of too poor quality.Stephon ClarkStephon Clark, 22, was suspected of vandalism when he was shot 20 times in 2018. His killing prompted protests in Sacramento and across the US.

The officers said they thought Clark was pointing a gun, but it turned out Clark was holding only a mobile phone.

Police shot at unarmed Stephon Clark 20 times. Credit: Sonia Lewis

A Sacramento County District Attorney concluded that the officers wouldn't face criminal charges, saying bodycam footage supported the officers’ statements that they thought Clark was pointing a gun.

Speaking to the New York Times, Mr Clark's mother said the trial had offered a sense of hope.

“It’s a bittersweet thing what’s happening,” she said.

“I’m optimistic that this is a piece of justice for the death of my son.”